But there are times when a product is withdrawn. This could be for a number of reasons; drop in sales, low profit margin, rationalisation of the product range, production capacity, making way for a new product in the brand offering, etc. It is understandable. However, the way this is done, can strengthen or weaken the brand.
Brands advertise a new product extension, and so it was that I tried a new shampoo. It really suited my hair and I became a loyal user immediately. They had advertised it on TV and "hooked" me. Years went by and no other brand could convince me to try their product. I was as happy as a "pig in s...". Then suddenly it disappeared off the shelf! No warning, no suggestion as to which of their other products would deliver similar results, zip zap zero.
Here they had a brand loyal consumer(s) for years, yet they made no effort to retain me/them as a customer. As all brands in the category have numerous products on offer, surely there was one that would do the trick too. Have they no idea how valuable a loyal customer is? So, off I go in search of a new shampoo that suits my hair, but not from the brand that "dropped" me and others like a hot potato.
Delisting a product can be an opportunity
It is not rocket science to switch a consumer of one of the brand's products to another. The brand had my loyalty, trust and respect that it earned over years. I would have gladly listened to their suggestion, had they made one. By simply putting a neck-tag on the "old" product, telling me what was going to happen and make a suggestion, would have secured me as a loyal customer for many more years.
They had an opportunity to even raise my respect/loyalty had they convinced me that they were "delisting" the product as they have something that is much better. Had they succeeded in this, it would have elevated the brand's perception.
Whether you are shrinking or expanding your brand's offering, repackaging or even renaming your brand, it is an opportunity if handled correctly. Start by focusing on retaining your current consumers. They are in the "bag". You do not want to upset or lose them.
Only then can you look at attracting new consumers. With the ever-expanding offerings facing consumers today, it is imperative to retain those loyal to your brand. Look at every change as an opportunity to further build the brand. Get the strategy right!
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